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If you're like most people, you probably don't get enough sleep. Research suggests that 71% of people across the UK don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night, which can lead to stress, irritability and various health problems.
Whether you toss and turn for hours before finally dozing off or wake up frequently during the night, lack of sleep can be incredibly frustrating. Many people turn to aromatherapy to help them sleep soundly, trusting in natural ingredients to help them relax and wind down before bedtime. In this blog post, we’ll explore which essential oils are good for sleep and how to use them. So if you’re hoping for a more restful slumber, keep reading!
In today's fast-paced world, it can be challenging to get a good night's sleep. For some people, this may be due to stress, anxiety or poor sleep hygiene (e.g. an irregular bedtime routine or an uncomfortable bedroom), while for others, it may result from insomnia. Whatever the cause, there is scientific evidence that essential oils can help promote better sleep, with certain oils known for their relaxing properties. In a review of 15 scientific studies, it was reported that the majority of the findings suggested a positive effect of essential oils on sleep.
In one study, lavender oil was shown to improve sleep quality in people with mild insomnia, while further research reports that chamomile oil is a safe and effective treatment to improve sleep quality and symptoms of anxiety. The evidence suggests that essential oils can be a helpful natural remedy for those struggling to get a good night’s rest, so it may be worth experimenting with aromatherapy if you find it difficult to relax.
There are several ways to use essential oils for sleep. One of the most common is to add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to a carrier oil before applying it to your skin. Diluting essential oils with a carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond oil is essential for safe topical application, as undiluted essential oils can cause irritation.
Try adding your chosen essential oils to this ultra-rich night cream recipe for a relaxing and skin-nourishing treat.
If you don’t want to use essential oils topically, try diffusing them in your bedroom or applying a couple of drops to your pillowcase to create a relaxing environment. Some people also find that a lavender eye pillow calms the mind and helps them relax before falling asleep. Experiment with different methods and oils until you find what works best for you.
So, which essential oils are good for sleep? We’ve selected some of our favourites to help you find your zen.
Scent: Floral, fresh and fruity
Plant Part Used:Lavender shrub
INCI:Lavandula Angustifolia Oil
Lavender tends to be the first essential oil people think of when they’re hoping for a restful night. This purple flowering shrub contains chemical compounds said to calm the nervous system and has been used in aromatherapy for centuries to help people relax and improve sleep.
As well as its calming effects, other benefits of lavender oil include its soothing, toning and refreshing qualities. Use it in a pillow spray to help you fall asleep or incorporate it into natural skincare recipes to give your products a beautiful aroma.
For more information, take a look at our guide on how to use lavender oil for relaxation.
Scent:Sweet, nutty and green
Plant Part Used:Salvia sclarea plant
INCI:Salvia Sclarea Oil
Clary sage essential oil is extracted from the clary sage plant, a herbaceous perennial native to southern Europe. This oil is said to reduce anxiety and promote sleep, with one study showing that inhalation of clary sage significantly lowered participants’ blood pressure. If you enjoy sweet, green scents and are looking for an essential oil to induce relaxation, this essential oil could be a great option to help you sleep. Try using it in bath melts with patchouli and lavender for a deeply relaxing soak.
Scent: Citrus, floral and clean
Plant Part Used: Flowers of the bitter orange tree
INCI: Citrus Aurantium Amara Flower Oil
Neroli essential oil is intensely relaxing, providing a therapeutic experience when used in aromatherapy, massage and skin care. Try diffusing this oil on an evening to help you unwind and boost your well-being, or use it to create your own soothing serum that doubles as a skin hydrator.
Scent:Sweet and floral with hints of apples
Plant Part Used: Roman chamomile plant
INCI:Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil
You may already know about the benefits of drinking chamomile tea before bedtime, but chamomile can also be used in aromatherapy to improve sleep. Roman chamomile essential oil is reported to reduce anxiety and stress, making it beneficial for anyone who struggles to shut off their thoughts at night. Apply a couple of drops of this gentle essential oil to your pillow or dilute with a carrier oil and use it in baths to calm the mind and prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep.
Scent: Rich, sweet and floral
Plant Part Used: Ylang ylang flowers
INCI: Cananga Odorata Flower Oil
Ylang ylang oil is extracted from the flowers of the Cananga tree and has a distinctive exotic, floral fragrance. This calming essential oil is known for alleviating stress and works well in massage oils and creams. Its gorgeous scent makes it a popular choice for hair care products. A study of patients in cardiac rehabilitation found that sleep quality significantly improved after inhaling a combination of ylang ylang, bergamot and lavender.
Scent: Sharp and minty with hints of honey
Plant Part Used: Leaves and stems of the eucalyptus tree
INCI: Eucalyptus Radiata Leaf/Stem Oil
Eucalyptus oil has a relaxing natural aroma and is often used to clear the sinuses. This makes it a great option for sleep if you have a cold or struggle with congestion. There are a few types of eucalyptus essential oil to choose from, but eucalyptus radiata is the most gentle and versatile — perfect for your bedtime routine. Use it on your pillowcase or dilute it in a carrier oil and apply it to your skin.
Scent: Warm, spicy and herbaceous
Plant Part Used: Leaves of the sweet marjoram plant
INCI: Origanum Majorana Leaf Oil
If you’re hoping for deeper sleep, marjoram essential oil may just soothe the mind and body enough to get you there. Derived from the sweet marjoram plant, this warm, herbaceous oil can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied topically to relieve stress. Studies have shown that marjoram oil has a sleep-inducing effect and can improve sleep quality.
Scent: Citrus and fruity with hints of florals
Plant Part Used: Rinds of unripe bergamot oranges
INCI: Citrus Aurantium Bergamia Peel Oil
Bergamot essential oil has a fresh citrus scent and is popular in aromatherapy for its relaxing yet uplifting qualities. Used in a diffuser, this oil can cleanse and purify a room and has calming properties that may improve sleep.
Scent: Warm, sweet and woody
Plant Part Used:Bark of the cedrus atlantica tree
INCI: Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil
If you prefer woody fragrances, try incorporating cedarwood essential oil into your nighttime routine to prepare your mind for sleep. Cedarwood oil contains a chemical compound called cedrol that’s been proven to improve sleep quality and may increase total sleep time. Mix it with floral oils to add depth to a room spray or massage blend.
If you’re new to aromatherapy and need a better night’s sleep, oursweet dreams essential oil blend is the perfect option to help you relax. Alternatively, explore our full range of essential oils to shop for individual natural ingredients and create your own recipes.
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These notes are not meant to replace medical guidance and you should seek the advice of your doctor for your health matters. The formulae are given in good faith and are intended for educational purposes only. They have not been evaluated or tested in any way and Aromantic Ltd. makes no claim as to their effectiveness. It is up to the reader to ensure that any products they produce from these recipes are safe to use, and if relevant, compliant under current cosmetic regulations.
For more information and guidance on making your own skin care products please see Aromantic's books and eBooks in our Publications section.
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